NintenDos and Don’ts: Nintendo Finally Socializes

This guest post is by Megan Carriker, previously an employee of Ignite Social Media. Megan is now with Shoeboxed, a start-up company that simplifies business tasks like expense reporting, accounting and contact management by digitizing paper documents and organizing the data in secure online accounts. Find her on Twitter @megancarriker.

Nintendo historically goes against expected trends within the videogame industry. Of the last past two generations of console systems, the Nintendo Wii and Gamecube were the only systems to not offer a DVD/Blu-ray player.

While the other consoles have been hopping onto online connectivity, Nintendo has always held back. Xbox has XboxLive and Playstation has the Playstation Network – and what does the Wii have? Nintendo resists the online trend. The Gamecube didn’t even have Internet accessibility, period. But at least for the Wii, with Wii Friend Codes (you have to exchange codes with a person to play with them online) and limited connectivity with their games, Nintendo offered the connection capabilities but still self-censors their efforts constantly.

So typically, Nintendo has a habit of resisting inevitable innovations. Wii U, the next console by Nintendo, still won’t even have a DVD/blu-ray player. But the DSi has more connectivity through Miis and playing with people nearby. And by now with the next console, online connectivity is being prominently displayed. Eventually, Nintendo caves in and has to incorporate at least some of the changes already embraced by their competitors.

Same goes for social media.

Xbox and Playstation have had fantastic presences in social media since the 12 months we have been following big brands on Facebook. They’ve always been in the top 50 and steadily climbing.

As of June 5th, however, Nintendo has joined in on all of the reindeer games. And boy, do they have some catching up to do.

Our first glance as of July 5th, a month after social media efforts began:

No Fan Gate

Playstation and Xbox have had fangates up for a while. A fangate is where you have to Like their page in order to access the content or comment on their pages. Nintendo currently has no fangate or even a real landing page – if you go to, it simply sends you straight to their Wall. First tip, Nintendo: consider getting a fangate. Before that, though, make sure there is exclusive content that’s going to make people want to visit the Nintendo facebook page. Right now, there’s really no advantage to Liking Nintendo or getting any updates. Nintendo will need to offer something special on Facebook and on Twitter that people can’t get elsewhere.

Low Follower Count

With 260,000 fans after a month of activity, Nintendo isn’t doing horribly. But they’re not making a lot of progress, either. At the end of June, I glanced at the page and it was around 250,000. Adding 10,000 fans in a week is tremendous. But Sony’s Playstation page has over 16 million fans as of June and Microsoft’s Xbox page has over 10 million. At the latest count as we come close to the end of August, they’ve finally broken 300,000. Nintendo is going to have to get people spreading the news of their social presence faster in order to seriously compete in the space.

Lengthy Posts

The posts for Nintendo are currently ridiculously long. They’ve been that way since June 5th and they still are. And not only that, they’re negative. Giving your fans an update about games that will never come to the U.S. isn’t the right foot to get things going on, Nintendo. Plenty of comments were made, sure, but that’s because they got people riled up and feeling unhappy with the brand. That’s not the kind of attention a brand wants to be generating, especially one that should be representing fun.

An example of a very unnecessarily lengthy post:

And an example of a post that aroused a lot of negative attention towards Nintendo:

Simple Mistakes

Simple mistakes like not rotating pictures before posting them can be costly for reputation in the real time world of social media. For every single Facebook post made for a client of Ignite’s, there is a lengthy check-list process to make sure every single punctuation mark is correct, let alone every picture is in the right position. Even more costly can be the impact of deleting these sorts of comments, which it seems that Nintendo has done since I can no longer find these comments:

Guidelines have to be in place before posting for such a large brand, and even more importantly: guidelines for when to delete posts or how to respond to posts. If I were Johnathan M. Kruse, I’d probably be pretty annoyed with Nintendo for deleting my post.

So far, Nintendo isn’t responding to anyone on its page or allowing anyone to openly comment except on its posts. This is a legitimate strategy but Nintendo has to make sure this is the best strategy for them. People might begin to feel ignored or outraged if more comments like the one above are deleted.

Fragmented Brand Pages

I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time to make pages specifically for Mario, Yoshi, and all of the Nintendo systems. But if Nintendo had just compiled those all into the nmain Nintendo page then things would be a lot easier for them, most likely. I understand having a different page for a system – but having a separate page for the Nintendo DSi and the Nintendo 3DS, both which are DS systems, is unnecessary. And while people probably love Yoshi and Mario, Nintendo is just generating more work and fragmenting its brand across different pages. Those same people that love Mario and Yoshi would probably be best served by one united Nintendo page – if you’re going to like Mario and Yoshi, you’re inevitably going to like Nintendo as a whole.

Choose a Role Model to Learn From

One last tip for Nintendo on Facebook: choose a role model to learn from. I recommend Disney. If you look at what Disney and Skittles are doing, it’s brilliant – both have very short, very Like-able/shareable posts every single day. Nintendo needs to hop on board with what Disney’s doing, however, by playing to people’s nostalgia. Nintendo has a wealth of a memory bank to tap on with its fans…if you got it, flaunt it. Disney keeps their posts short and sweet but full of meaning for its fans. Learn from their example.

Start Engaging on Twitter

Nintendo is doing an impressive job with Twitter already. But there’s no engagement going on. It’s simply being used as a news feed for the 120,000 followers. That’s all well and good but Nintendo should consider talking with its fans. You might be surprised at how actively they talk with you and how much greater your messages reach will be. It’s clear there’s an understanding of Twitter as a whole already by Nintendo – hashtags are being used and the follower count is already impressive. Taking that extra step, though, and making the brand more memorable and personalized with the die-hard Nintendo loyalists could go a long way.

What do you think of Nintendo’s social media presence so far?

Ignite Social Media